Nikon 1 Series Overview

I had the chance to sit down with a Nikon technical manager and talk about the new V1 and J1 mirrorless cameras. 

The biggest difference for me when handling the Nikon V1 and J1 is the lens size.  In my Sony NEX-5N review, I pointed out that the lens size was a shortcoming of an otherwise compact system.  And while I’m not ready to say the Nikon 1 Series is better or worse than the Sony NEX or Olympus/Panasonic Micro Four Thirds systems, it is clear that the 2.7x crop sensor allows for a much more proportional lens design that “fits” the camera body better.

The camera body size of the Nikon 1 Series cameras is not so much smaller than compact mirrorless cameras like the Olympus E-PM1.

Nikon J1 and Olympus E-PM1

When you hold the cameras in your hand though, it’s clear that the bigger kit lens on the Olympus E-PM1 is more cumbersome on the compact camera body.  That said, it’s not so extreme as the NEX series with its APS-C sensor, which require bigger, DSLR-sized lenses.

The Nikon 1 Series impresses on size, speed and feature set.  Of course, there’s a whole lot more to determining whether its the right camera for you.  Nikon says the target market isn’t the DSLR user base.  And, I think they’re right about that.  I think the Nikon 1 Series fits the point and shoot users who are ready to move up to something a little higher quality, but may be a little intimidated by DSLRs.  Time will tell if the Nikon 1 Series becomes a hit in spite of its late arrival to the mirrorless market.

This PhotoPlus 2011 coverage is sponsored by B&H Photo, which Photography Bay proudly recommends as the number one source for all your photographic needs.  B&H Photo is located online at and in New York City at its 70,000+ sq. ft. SuperStore.



  1. Jerry Schneir says

    I always thought the objective of any camera was to capture an image as close to a perfect copy of the original as possible. Nikon proves that with the J1 or V1 a smaller sensor with a smaller lens just does NOT meet that goal. If you are comparing it to most P&S cameras, then yes, Nikon is better, but if you are comparing it with the Sony NEX 5N then, for about the same money you are not getting uyour money’s worth with either Nikon. If size is your only criterion, then the Pentax Q should be a better option. In my case, I want as detailed an image as possible at the highest possible ISO and I have found nothing around that beats the Sony NEX 5N for the money, even for twice as much money. I have a very strong feeling that Sony dropped the ball with their A77/A65 cameras, they do not meet the sharpness and lack of noise of the 5N, and I fear that the new NEX 7 will be just like those two since it has the same 24MP sensor.